What do you want the speaker to communicate? Is your focus motivation, entertainment, education, or some combination?
What time of day and length of talk do you need? Not all speakers excel at all speaking formats.
Avoid the “champagne taste on a beer budget” syndrome. Be realistic. And remember to budget for travel expenses!
Do you specifically require a man or a woman? Is age important to the group? Must it be an author with a book? Do you require a book signing? Does your group need someone with an interactive speaking style or some other specific characteristic?
If you can find someone based near your meeting, you can lower or eliminate travel fees. Speakers who include travel in their presentation fees may lower those fees when they don’t have to travel.
Be clear on how many presentations you want from a speaker. Offerings and fees may change depending on the number and length of talks required. You usually get better pricing if you use a speaker multiple times on the same day rather than over the course of two or more days.
Are the speakers you are considering available when you need them? Don’t spend much energy on anything else until you get this answer, or you could be wasting your time!
Communicate your expectations before you book a speaker to make sure everyone is in agreement and that the speaker can do what you want. For example, not all speakers allow or use social media during their presentations, while others don’t permit recording for any purpose.
Do you want a speaker who will draw the biggest audience possible or a speaker who can best help members in their business lives? Associations often walk a tightrope between these goals. Think through the purpose of the particular meeting and the needs of members.
Working with a speakers bureau can save you time. Give the bureau your criteria as clearly as you can, and list the speakers who have been successful for your group in the past.
By Andrea Gold